Monday, August 8, 2016

A Letter to My 18-Year-Old Self

This weekend, Rory and I attended my ten year high school reunion. As soon as the Facebook group was created this summer and people starting talking and sharing memories, I knew I wanted to attend to be part of this special time. Looking back at high school, I can now say with complete acceptance that I was a nerd. I didn't really quite know it at the time, but if nerds are people who have goals and take their studies seriously, call me one. Cliques weren't really my thing; I did not have a particular crowd that I ran with all the time, but rather tried to make friends on all fronts- nerds, jocks, popular people, not-so-popular people. Because of that, I looked forward to seeing people I had not seen in a very long time.

High school was a lot of fun for me for the most part, and I had a positive experience, escaping mostly unscathed. About ten percent of my graduating class went on to UGA, with more transferring in over the years, so I saw Pope people all over Athens, and to this day, I still run into people around town. However, the people I keep in contact with now from that time in my life are all friends from my youth group. It was such a joy to reconnect with friends I hadn't seen and take a walk back to yesteryear! Thank God for people who will organize events like these that bring people together.

Seeing people ten years down the road from where we last did daily life together made me so reflective. High school can be a crazy time, so I thought I'd write a letter to my 18-year-old self including some things I wish I had known.

Dear Jessica,

I know you may not think it's true right now, but your life is pretty great, and you're so very loved. You may think that you aren't pretty enough because you haven't been on a real date. You may think no boy will ever love you because you're too much or not enough. But you're just right and you're enough. Just as you are. 

You are so incredibly smart, Jessica. Don't be ashamed to use the brain that God has given you to do great things and to help others by being a problem-solver. When you have an opinion, don't be afraid to share it. People need to hear from various perspectives, and you can help them when you share your own. 

You are so capable, Jessica. You may watch others around you and think that they are better, faster, smarter, and stronger. It's not true. God has given you an amazing repertoire of gifts and talents that you are just barely scratching the surface of right now. Take the time to discover them and know that God will not waste one of them. Not one. 

You are beautiful, Jessica. You are an exquisite young woman, molded in the hands of God. Don't feel like you have to be like everyone else around you. Don't be ashamed of your beautiful brown skin, your gorgeous curly hair, or your shapely figure. You are you. Don't let anyone take that away from you. 

Jessica, trust God with all of your heart. Don't be afraid to open up to others and be real with them about what you are thinking and feeling. Know that the dreams you hold in your heart are significant and beautiful, and God will continue to use them to influence the world around you. 

Above all, you are loved. So incredibly loved. So love God, love yourself, and love people. All of life stems from these three things. 

Your friend, 


P.S. Do yourself a favor and listen to this song. You'll be glad you did. 
P.P.S. You're going to marry someone amazing! So don't give your heart away too soon; what God has in store is way better than all you could ever imagine. 

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